New mobile device aims to supplement patient office visits

May 1, 2014

CheckedUp, a mobile health platform being tested at a number of sites nationwide, is designed to supplement cataract patients’ office visits by providing ongoing customized education and communication throughout the care process.

 

Take Home
CheckedUp, a mobile health platform being tested at a number of sites nationwide, is designed to supplement cataract patients’ office visits by providing ongoing customized education and communication throughout the care process.

 

By Ron Rajecki; Reviewed by Richard M. Awdeh, MD

MIAMI-Ophthalmologists faced with burgeoning caseloads may have dreamt about having a personal health coach they could assign to educate their cataract patients about their condition and its treatment. That dream is close to becoming a reality in the form of a mobile health platform called CheckedUp.

CheckedUp is a proprietary, educational platform designed to facilitate and enhance communication between ophthalmologists and patients at each stage in the care process. It is accessible by patients through smartphones, tablet devices, or laptop computers. It is fully customizable by an ophthalmic practice, allowing patients to receive information tailored to their specific condition and medical history.

CheckedUp was founded by Richard M. Awdeh, MD, director, technology transfer, and assistant professor, ophthalmology, Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, and assistant professor of pathology, biochemistry, and molecular biology, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. Dr. Awdeh also is chief executive officer of Cirle, a health and biotech incubator based in Miami, that has a partnership with the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute.

 

Developing CheckedUp

Dr. Awdeh said the genesis for CheckedUp was conversations with colleagues from across the country, in which all of the practicing ophthalmologists realized they were facing the same set of challenges.

“We’re all under pressure to see more patients per day, and the goal becomes delivering the highest-value interaction possible in our limited time with patients,” Dr. Awdeh said. “We believe that the CheckedUp digital health coach complements the doctor-patient visit in three ways: patient education, patient engagement, and-through that education and engagement-optimized outcomes.”

Dr. Awdeh noted that patients who learn that they have a cataract need information. Rather than spending valuable face-to-face time explaining the basics, such as what cataracts are and why they form, CheckedUp allows doctors and patients to have higher-level conversations regarding treatment options and follow-up care. It involves patients in the process and makes them active participants in their cataract removal process and recovery.

 “Some busy ophthalmologists may be performing 20 to 30 cataract surgeries per day,” Dr. Awdeh says. “The goal is to have educated and engaged patients asking us the right questions when they come into the office to see us.”

 

Implementation

CheckedUp is currently in a limited release under what Dr. Awdeh calls the “explorer’s program,” which consists of a group of clinics around the country that are implementing CheckedUp and working as thought partners with CheckedUp’s technology and product teams.

“The explorers are charged with helping us refine the functionality that they would really like to have in the clinic,” Dr. Awdeh said. The goal is to have 50 explorer practices by the end of the year, with a ‘go live’ date for general release in 2015, he added.

In addition, a multi-center clinical trail of CheckedUp is underway at four sites around the country, and information has been gathered from more than 300 CheckedUp users and their physicians.

“We’re learning what things users like and the ways in which they prefer to be engaged, and we’re seeing the needle move on information retention and patient education concerning their cataract procedures,” Dr. Awdeh said.

At one of the explorer practices, Ophthalmic Consultants of Long Island, CheckedUp has already become an “instrumental” part of the patient care experience, according to Eric Donnenfeld, MD. Dr. Donnenfeld is a founding partner of the practice; clinical professor of ophthalmology, New York University; trustee of Dartmouth Medical School; and president of the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgeons.

 

“In the past, I found that patients came in to see me completely unprepared for what cataract surgery was, and what the visual opportunities were for them following surgery,” Dr. Donnenfeld says. “With CheckedUp, patients now have much more prepared minds. They understand what cataract surgery is, what their visual opportunities are, and the different technologies that are available to help them achieve their visual goals.

“The patients really seem to like it,” Dr. Donnenfeld added. “One of the things we’ve noticed is that I spend less time with patients, but the patients all say that it’s a better quality time with them, and they give our staff and office excellent marks as far as their office experience.”

Advice

Dr. Donnenfeld offered two pieces of advice to ophthalmologists who would eventually like to implement CheckedUp in their practices: customize it to ensure they’re comfortable with the materials that are being presented to patients, and educate staff on the platform so that everyone in the practice is operating with the same experience and the same motivation.

Overall, Dr. Donnenfeld sees CheckedUp and as a valuable tool in a whole new toolbox that will help physicians practice smarter.

“Patient expectations today are higher than they’ve ever been, and patients need to understand the surgical procedure better than ever before because there are so many more alterative than there have ever been,” Dr. Donnenfeld said. “We’re challenged with declining reimbursements and increased expectations. Having ‘physician extenders,’ such as CheckedUp, improves the patient experience and allows us to meet our patients’ needs in a constructive way that provides better care in a more cost-effective manner.”

The CheckedUp platform could eventually be modified to fit any specialty, Dr. Awdeh noted. In addition, it helps physicians meet Stage 2 Meaningful Use criteria by engaging patients and their physicians electronically.

For more information, visit www.checkedup.com.

 

 

Richard M. Awdeh, MD
Phone: 786-866-2872
E-mail: Richard@checkedup.com
Dr. Awdeh is the founder and chief executive officer of CheckedUp.